19 September, Punakha: Punakha Dzongkhag has 37 approved community forest till date with an area of 3355.58 hectares managed by 1171 households. On 8 and 9 September, the Dzongkhag Forestry sector in consultation with Helvetas, organised a two day 2nd CF Networking Consultative Meeting at the Tashi Pelri Hotel in Khuruthang, Punakha.
The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Tshering Phuntsho, National CF Network Facilitator who briefed the participants on the overall objectives of the workshop, and explained why CF networking is important.
The different stakeholders who attended the consultative meeting comprised of Dzongkhag Tshogdue (DT) Chairperson, Dy. Chairperson, CFO, Wangdue Division, representative from Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park, Dzongkhag Forest Officer, forest extensions, territorial staff and a total of 32 CF executives from different community forests’ members. To mark the opening the Dzongkhag Tshogdue Chairperson urged all the CF executive members to take active roles in managing the community forests sustainably, reminding them that the Royal Government had spent a huge amount towards the establishment of community forests and handing the CFs over to them.
During the CF consultative workshop, the different stakeholders shared their experiences and raised issues relating to community forests. The CFO, Wangdue division presented the roles and responsibilities of their division and also raised some issues relating to community forests while the DzFO presented the overall scenario of CFs within the Dzongkhag and also raised some related issues. The representative from the four Community Forests made a presentation sharing their experiences on books of accounts, CF timber marketing, water source protection and NWFP management. The presentation was discussed at length with most individuals raising questions, giving suggestions, and seeking clarifications.
In addition, the Dzongkhag Forest Sector sensitised the participants on the Community forest timber harvesting guidelines.
Towards the end of workshop, the 26 community forest groups with the Dzongkhag mutually agreed to form CF networking groups and unanimously elected Towchu, as the Chairman, Mindu Dorji as secretary and Namgay Dem as treasurer. The next CF networking workshop will be conducted in the first week of January 2016. They also agreed to voluntarily contribute Nu 3000 from the community forest budget as seed money for the groups.
-Compiled by Tshering Dorji, Sr. Ranger, Punakha Dzongkhag.
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